She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. vs. 20
So I have this friend. She’s probably one of the most hospitable people I know. Whenever I am sick, she brings me a “care package” of vitamins, hot cocoa, soup, etc… She also will randomly bless with me with beauty products. And almost every time I go to say, “thank you,” she lets me know that most of the items she was able to get couponing! And instead of keeping them for her and her hubby, she wants to bless me with them. Gosh, what a friend. So today she is the guest blogger giving us some tips and a simple introduction to couponing. She doesn’t have a blog; however, she will see your feedback through this blog. So give her some love and let her know what you think!
How would you like to start saving money on your grocery bill? Well after the famous TLC show, Extreme Couponing, I decided I would give it a try. I thought that if I could start saving just $50-$100 a month, it would be worth it. That is a savings of $600-$1,200 a year! Sometimes when we can see the big picture, it makes it more worthwhile. On average, I usually spend about 2 hours a week. However, some weeks I don’t spend much time at all, especially during the holidays. But its up to you how much time you will set aside for this. The more time you put into it it, the more money you will save.
Here are some helpful hints just to get you started:
Where to find them: Start by ordering your Sunday paper. The Southern Illinoisan (for our local region) has a special 20 for $20. If you live in this area, go to their website. Trust me… you will make that dollar up in no time. You can also ask family and friends to save their Sunday coupons for you. Once you have your coupons you can cut the ones you use and put them in a small coupon booklet that you can keep in your purse. You have no idea how many times I am at the store and see something on sale that I have a coupon for! Since I had it with me, I was able to use it. You can also store them is by putting a date on the front of the paper with a marker. There are many websites like Coupon Mom that give helpful tips on couponing. On her website, all you have to do is go to the store you like, and she will give you a rundown on all the sales with the dates on the coupons for it. Another great resource is Money Saving Mom.
Know Your Stores: Get to know 2-3 different stores and their policies. This will take time and effort, but once you have it down its not that bad. My three stores are Kroger, CVS and Walgreen’s because they are close to home. I also like the drugstores because of their rewards programs. Coupon Mom has a Drugstore video that explains how to save at these stores. Kroger also has what they call “manager’s specials”. These are items that have been price-reduced. If you don’t know where they are located, just ask a clerk. I usually like to go through the items and see if I have a coupon for it. I have gotten some great deals that way.
Develop a Stock Pile: Buying items when they are at their lowest price is great. However, when you do this, you often accumulate a lot of stuff. You may be thinking, “I don’t have that kinda space!” Well, I don’t have a big home either, but you don’t have to. All you need is a small space in your pantry and/or your closet where you can store these items. If something is on sale, I try to buy at least six items or more. These items are usually nonparishable items like pasta, can goods, beauty products, etc…. My husbands loves that he can just go in our closet and get toothpaste, body wash or deodorant when he is out. It’s like having a little store in your house. Of course, this will take time to build up, but it will be worth it.
Expired Coupons: What to do with your expired coupons? Well, you can donate them for military families to use. They are allowed to use expired coupons for up to 1 year after the expiration date on base and at the commissaries abroad. Now you don’t have to throw away an expired coupon. Just go to Coupons to Troops.
Donate: Once you have been doing couponing for a while, you can donate to a local food pantry, family, or friends. I think the best part about couponing for me is that I get to share with others the blessings God has given me.
-Mayra Miranda McHugh